Consumers want options

Consumers say that instead of providing the option of buying plastic bags, they want retailers to provide cheaper reusable bags or free alternatives like paper bags.

THE ban on free plastic bags in the Federal Territories and Selangor beginning this week may be good for the environment, but consumers want retailers to stop selling them altogether for the war against plastic to be effective.

Instead of providing consumers with the option of buying plastic bags at 20sen a piece, they want retailers to provide cheaper reusable bags or free alternatives like paper bags.

Consumers say the price of these reusable bags must be kept affordable.

The Star reader Wan Latif Rachman said in order for the policy to be effective, retailers should not sell plastic bags altogether.

It would be better, he said, if they sold paper bags or biodegradable bags instead.

Similarly, Glen Brownwin agreed that there should be a blanket ban instead of retailers selling or charging for plastic bags.

Another reader, John Ng Wei Chung wants the authorities to just stick to the ban, arguing that the public should just bring their own shopping bags.

Some feel that the reusable bags sold in some shops are just not sturdy enough and damaged quickly.

This will lead to the generation of more bulky rubbish.

Housewife Deena Krishnan said she would have to repurchase reusable bags regularly since they degraded so quickly.

“I have three young children, and I do my grocery shopping once a week.

“I have a lot to buy, and I will need many of these bags.

“The reusable bags are made of recycled materials, which is good, but some of them get damaged fast.

“I would need to buy new ones often as they do not last long.

“I hope these bags will be sold at cost price as the retailers no longer have to provide us with free plastic,” she said.

Eileen Thong said she always kept reusable bags in her car these days, just in case she needed to do last-minute shopping.

“I was once in a supermarket, and I had to choose between a plastic bag or a reusable bag because I did not bring my own bag.

“I bought a reusable bag so that I could use it again – and as a reminder to myself to always carry some with me,” she said.

The Star reader Todd Majid feels it would be better to promote the use of paper bags and biodegradable plastic bags.

In his view, this will address the issue of the slow rate of waste degradation due to the presence of plastic in the landfill.

Todd said there would always be plastic bag dustbin linings for household waste clogging the landfills

“I never understood the purpose of banning free plastic bags.

“Better promote the use of paper bags and biodegradable plastic bags, which really address the issue of plastic waste clogging the landfills,” he said.

StarMetro reader Tan Poh Suan proposes that retailers distribute colour coded recyclable plastics.

“If the biodegradable bags are more expensive, perhaps you can restrict the give-outs to a maximum of three pieces per customer or offer such bags on a minimum purchase of RM20, RM50 or RM100,” said Tan who has also written personally to a retailer to suggest her idea.

She said it would be a win-win solution for all involved.

Some consumers are suggesting that retailers hand out free reusable bags in the next few weeks to shoppers as part of their corporate social responsibility activity.

Reader Mohd Razali Ibrahim said the production of plastic bags should be stopped and that only the production of paper bags be allowed.

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